What Do We Expect From Players When They Are Asked For Their Opinion?

On Wednesday night I sat down at 8:30pm to watch NRL On Fox. Just before the show started, I checked my Twitter timeline and saw a message from Wests Tigers hooker Robbie Farah that said this:

Just got ambushed on NRL on Fox. Pretty fired up ATM to be honest and pretty pissed off. Wanted to unleash more then I did


Of course, this Tweet from Farah lit up Twitter and I wouldn’t be surprised if Fox Sport saw their ratings jump as well.

Farah was a guest of the show along with Braith Anasta, and it was pretty clear that Farah was ready to defend himself right from the get go. I don’t know if he had been tipped off about what Matthew Johns was going to ask of what, but he knew something was about to go down!

The interview was recorded by azsportza and his dog was barking in the background. Still, you will quickly understand the greatness of this television moment:

A few things I want to say first…

The Tigers have been incredibly soft this season. I understand the question would piss Farah off, but as someone that is not emotionally connected to the question, the Tigers are without question one of the softest teams in the competition this year.

It was a legitimate question but one that you ask a player and expect to get a harsh reaction back from. The last thing any player in this game wants to be accused of is being soft. In a brutal game like Rugby League, where you put your body on the line just going out there to play, it is insulting to tell a player that his team is soft.

It was a fair question though!

From that moment on, Farah was obviously furious. I can’t blame him. In fact, I’m glad that was his reaction. If he had be chilled out, said not to worry, said everything will be find, THEN I would have been worried.

I thought the best part of the whole interview was when it looked like Farah was about to let fly at Matthew Johns about his own issues. Had that happened, man, it would have been classic. Robbie Farah is a smart bloke though. He stood at the edge and thought better of it.

I liked the interview, I liked the honesty, I liked the fact Farah fired up, that Johns kept asking tough question, and that Braith Anasta just wanted to disappear!

It got me thinking though, what do we want from players when they are sat down and asked the tough questions?

These days players are taught how to give the media the least offensive, least interesting comments they possibly can from a very young age. By the time they become first graders, they have had a few years of media training.

It is very rarely that you see a player being interviewed and really feel like they are unguarded, that they are comfortable enough talking to the media and sharing their opinions that they don’t just spit out cookie cutter answers.

I remember a few years ago when Darius Boyd was at the St George/Illawarra Dragons. He didn’t want to talk to the media and yet the club forced him to. He stood there in front of the media pack and gave yes/no answers.

You can read a transcript of the Darius Boyd interview by clicking here.

The media got pissed off, and they smashed him the next day, forcing him to issue an apology. I wrote at the time that Boyd didn’t owe the media a thing. Sure, it wasn’t ideal, but you can’t force a player to tell you what you want to hear!

When players are outspoken in Rugby League, most of the time it causes so many waves that it just ends up not being worth a players time, or effort, to speak their mind.

I’ve got no problem with anything Robbie Farah said on NRL on Fox and I hope his defense of himself and the club he captains doesn’t come back to bite him on the arse. It would be wrong if it did.

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